|Pvt. Henry Augustus Moore, Co. F, 15th|
Miss. Inf. His regiment served in the
Vicksburg campaign as part of Johnston's
relief forces. (Liljenquist Family Collection,
Library of Congress)
March 27, 1863
Impelled thereto by business engagements, we last week made a short visit to Vicksburg, taking in our route Calhoun, Madison, Tagaloo, Shotwell's tank, Jackson, Clinton, Bolton's, Edward's, Bovina, "and all intermediate landings." From the route we took, as indicated by the above names, it will be reasonably inferred that we traveled "by rail." such was certainly our intention, but in it we failed. "The best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft aglee."
In our peregrinations we saw but little that was interesting or noteworthy, consequently we took no "notes," though we did take "note of time," as TIME—however much "tempus" may "fugit," was not a fast fugitive to us, but rather hung heavily upon our hands while away from "the young folks at home." In former times—before grim war's dreadful alarums resounded throughout the land—it was a pleasure and a benefit to any man to take a short respite and recreation from business in a trip to the "Hill City," or the "Crescent City;" but now, in these times of "war and pestilence and famine," the very worst punishment that could be inflicted upon a man would be to compel him to leave home and travel on railroads and take lodgings and meals at the hotels.
The first feature that presents itself to the mind of the wayfaring man is, the great number of soldiers that are continually "going to and fro, up and down in the earth," crowding all the cars on all the railroads;--the next is, the vast number of soldiers—officers, especially,--that are found at all the railroad depots of any note, and in all the towns along the lines of railroads. At Jackson we tarried a day. The city was alive with soldiers, and it seemed to us that every third man we met was an officer, had on shoulder straps, or a "spangle" of some sort to indicate that the wearer was something more than a "common soldier." The inquiry naturally arises, What are all these officers and soldiers doing out of camps? Why are they not with their regiments, on duty, in active service? There were, it seemed to us, a sufficient number of officers and men walking about the streets of Jackson to form a full regiment. How it is that so many men, able-bodied and healthy, are enabled to shirk their duty and keep out of the service, passeth our comprehension. While thousands are thus loitering about the cities, towns and railroad stations, all over the Confederacy, of no benefit whatever to the great cause in which we are engaged, the plea is made here in Mississippi by our sapient Governor, that the danger at present is so imminent that not a man can be spared from the field, and that the very salvation of the country depends upon retaining the militia in active service!—many of whom are old men not fit for military duty, but who ought to be at home, superintending their crops and raising bread and meat to supply the demands of the army and the people. The Confederate authorities should at once call all stragglers to the field, and Governor Pettus should disband the militia without further delay. He has committed an error in keeping them in the field up to the present time; the longer he persists in that error—to gain a reputation as "a man of firmness and decision of character"—the greater will be the detriment to the agricultural interests of the State, and to his own fair fame. Disband the "melish," Governor, disband the "melish," and let them raise corn, and you'll raise yourself in the estimation of everybody.